LAWRENCE MURPHY: Spicing up our great local greens
ASPARAGUS AND CUCUMBER SALADServes 4
A morning bike ride took me to Harting and through to Rogate where on a slow, long climb I could see farm workers strung out in a field adjacent to the road.
I looked on at the farm hands, taking my mind from the pain in my legs and, on closer inspection, became aware that they were hand picking asparagus – one of our best local ingredients.
After seeing the volume of people employed to pick them, it’s obvious why it’s more expensive than your average greens.
The spears grow very quickly at different stages and can only be hand picked to get the best produce to our tables.
I have said before that this lovely vegetable is best eaten soon after purchase to retain its sweetness and texture.
For this simple recipe you don’t even have to cook the asparagus: serving it raw with cucumber and a few Asian spices is ideal for a summer starter or side to a main dish from the barbecue.
2 Bunches asparagus
1 red chilli, finely chopped
Tablespoon olive oil
Tablespoon fish sauce
Tablespoon light soya sauce
Teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
Juice from half a lime
Teaspoon sea salt
100g brown shrimps
1. Peel the cucumber, cut length ways and remove the seeds.
2. Using a peeler, peel the cucumber into long strips.
3. Sprinkle the ribbons of cucumber with the sea salt and leave for 15 minutes.
4. Finely slice the asparagus lengthways and set aside.
5. Mix the olive oil with the soya and fish sauce.
6. Add the chilli, garlic, ginger and lime juice and whisk.
7. Wash the cucumber, pat dry and add to the dressing.
8. Toss in the asparagus and shrimps and serve.
Lawrence’s restaurant is Fat Olives, Emsworth. Visit fatolives.co.uk or call 01243 377 914.